Happy St.Patricks Day or “Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhuit!” I hope you all have a fantastic day and stay safe!
In the book, Ottolenghi describes these boozy little delights as a, ‘simple treat’ inspired by a recipe in Nigella Lawson’s book ‘Feast’ but he has amplified the Irish element in her original recipe by piping Baileys-infused mascarpone cream into the middle of these cakes, this is then followed by a light drizzle of chocolate ganache, followed by shavings of chocolate, it sounds extravagant, I know, but it was actually a relatively easy bake to make, for once!
The first step is to preheat the oven and line base of eight small loaf tins using a strip of parchment paper and allowing a 2cm overhang on each side in order for you to lift out the cakes once they’re done. I found the recipe’s instructions rather confusing when it came to lining the tins, but in the end, think I got it right! I cut out 2cm wide and around 10 cm long strips out of greaseproof paper and put them in the tins using butter to ‘cement’ them down! Obviously, this wasn’t particularly difficult, once I understood what he was saying of course!
I decided to make the chocolate ganache first instead of the cakes as I wanted to ensure plenty of time for the ganache to ‘set’! To make this ganache I put the chocolate in the nutribullet and blitzed until fine (although the recipe calls for a food processor, that thing is very heavy and tucked away in a cupboard, but the nutribullet small and quick!). Secondly, I put the cream and golden syrup into a pan and set over a ‘medium-high heat’ if you do this at home be sure to watch it like a hawk because I did not and that resulted in it coming to a boil, which the recipe specifically tells you not to do, whoops! Then I added the hot cream in with the chocolate, the recipe calls for a food processor to be used but I used a standing electric mixer instead, which means I most likely sacrificed an extra gloss to my ganache but honestly that’s ok as they turned out pretty glossy anyway! After mixing, for around 10 seconds I added the butter until it was well incorporated, shiny and smooth! Once the ganache was made I placed it in the fridge to firm up, which I only now realise as I read the recipe back that I was only supposed to set it aside, whoops!
After the ganache and was (incorrectly) put in the fridge I started on the ‘Guinness’ cakes, I was unable to find any Guinness where I live so I had to settle with ‘Irish Stout’ which is basically the same thing. To make the cakes I placed the ‘Guinness’ and butter into a medium saucepan and stirred until the butter melted, this time I refused to let it boil and luckily it didn’t! Next, the recipe says to sift the cocoa powder and sugar together into the pan, while still on the heat, I don’t know why they think I’m able to stir, sift and make sure it doesn’t come to a boil simultaneously I’m not a god! Instead, I sifted them into a bowl and added that to the ‘Guinness’ mixture, whisked them together, then added to a clean bowl.
I had done the ‘flavouring’ of this cake now I had to lay the foundations, in a bowl seperate to the one with the gunniess mixure in it, I whisked together the soured cream, egg and vanilla and poured that into the ‘Guinness’ mixture, the recipe says to ‘whisk as you do this’ and once again I dont know why they think im goddamn super woman and that I am not able to whisk, pour and hold a bowl at the same time, so instead I added it gradually and whisked in between each addition. Once the mixture was smooth I sifted the dry ingredients over and whisked away!
The cakes were done and ready to be baked! I poured them into the tins and baked them for 15-20 minutes. When I removed them from the oven my first thought was -excuse my French, literally- “Oh merdre!” as I thought they had burnt due to the dark colouring on them but there was no smoke or smell so I figured it was just the dark ‘Guinness’ aka ‘the black stuff.’ I allowed them to cool for around 10 minutes before carefully easing them out, thankfully I only had one disaster which was that one of the bottoms was a bit lopsided, but I quite liked it!
As the cakes where cooling I made the ‘Baileys Irish cream infused mascarpone’ but once again I had an issue with the availability of alcohol, we found Baileys in the supermarket but they only sold massive bottles which we figured to be rather useless as we only needed 45ml so we settled on a small bottle of whiskey and cream, at least this way we can make Irish coffee (which you can make with baileys too but shh)! So this added a very simple step of blending together 22.5ml of both whiskey and cream. After, I added the mascarpone and whisked it together by hand then added the icing sugar and continued to beat until it was thick enough to pipe/spread then placed in the fridge until the cakes were cool. I decided I wanted to do the chocolate flakes to top the cakes, I would highly recommend doing this with any bakes (especially around Easter) not only is it incredibly simple but it looks great and an added plus is there is a lot of chocolate left for you to munch on afterwards (or during if you’re like, as my dad would say ‘the GU girl’)!
Finally, everything was cool and it was time to assemble my cakes! Usually, Ottolenghi is very clear in his recipes (yes, some of his choices do make me want to punch him in the throat, but they’re clear and usually work out in the end!) but I could not for the life of me comprehend what he was saying when it came to assembeling these cakes (this could just be because I’m dumb and most likley the more accurate reason I mean, teenage girl over a profesional chef I think he may win this one, dammit!) I decided to just go with what I though it said, which I later (as in right now) realised that was the wrong thing to do! I made a cross slit in the cakes and prayed that it was going to be deep enough to fill. To fill these cakes, I added -the wrong sized- nozzle in a disposable piping bag and filled it with the cream and inserted it into the cakes, I found that the cakes would expand and start to crack if you filled them from a certain point, as I just found out the correct way to do this ( due to staring at the picture of the cakes in the book) was to cut a small hole in the center of the cakes top it with ganache.
As soon as all the cakes were filled, relatively successfully, it was time to cover the tops in ganache! I had about a hundred different ideas on how to apply the it, I wanted to use my mini angled spatula but I couldn’t find it, so I thought I would place a dollop of the ganache on the top of the cakes and spread it using both the back of the spoon and a pastry brush! Luckily the placing of the ganache didn’t turn out to be too much of a challenge just a dipped a bit here and there (as i had to put it in the microwave as the fridge had made it solidify!) so I topped it with the chocolate flakes and let me tell you its the most aesthetically pleasing thing in the world when you add those cute flakes on top of those cakes as it immediately makes them look 100x better! Lastly, for presentation, I took another venture into my mother’s crockery collection and found a couple very nice plates to put them on!
All in all, this was a rather stress-free recipe that I would definitely recommend that you make! It’s simple and goes down a right treat! I’m definitely going to be making these again and learn from my mistakes to try to get them perfect!
4 recipes down, 108 more to go!
I’ve attached a visual step by step of my process below!